By Nehad Khader
As humans and observers of other humans, we frequently pass judgment based on appearances. However, as a general rule—or perhaps, special exception to the rule—women’s appearances are far more scrutinized than are men’s. As identities and symbols, women’s appearances are also more political and politicized. The reason being stems from authorities of power—actual or self-anointed—and the significance of appearance within a particular power structure. From history to present, authorities of power have burdened the female body with the responsibility of reflecting their socio-political legitimacies.
At this year’s London Olympics, with the Saudi Arabian, Qatari, and Bruneian decisions to send women to the Games, it was Muslim women’s bodies that were at the eye of the responsive media storm. But in all the excitement of the Games, we neglected to take a step back and consider the language around women’s bodies. Too often we accept…
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